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Today's News

  • News for Retirees 09-02-12

    Sept. 2-8
    For information, call the Betty Ehart Senior Center (BESC) at 662-8920, the White Rock Senior Center (WRSC) at 662-8200 and “Day Out” (adult day care, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.) at 661-0081. Reservations must be made by 10 a.m. for daily lunches.

    Betty Ehart
    MONDAY
    BESC closed for Labor Day
    TUESDAY
    8:45 a.m.    Variety training
    10 a.m.    Computer users
    11:30 a.m.    Lunch: Fish
    7 p.m.        Bridge
    7:30 p.m.    Table tennis

    WEDNESDAY
    8:30 a.m.    RSVP quilters
    8:45 a.m.    Cardio plus exercise
    10:45 a.m.    Music with Ruth
    11:30 a.m.    Lunch: Chicken pot pie
    1:15 p.m.    Socrates Café
    1:30 p.m.    Daytime duplicate bridge
    THURSDAY
    8:45     a.m.    Variety training
    11:30 a.m.    Lunch: Sweet ‘n sour pork
    11: 30 a.m.    Community Health Council
    1 p.m.        Community Health Council Subgroup
    1:30 p.m.    Tap dancing
    2 p.m.    Ballroom dancing

  • Update 09-02-12

    No trash pick-up

    Los Alamos County will not pick up trash or recycling Monday in observance of Labor Day. Those who have a normal Monday pick-up should put their materials out Sept. 5.

    Library board

    Library Board meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the White Rock Branch Library.

    No court

    The Los Alamos Magistrate Court will not have a Judge for the week of Sept. 17-21 due to the annual Magistrate Judge’s conference. The court hours will be 8 a.m.-3 p.m. that week.

    Square dancing

     Square Dance Club will host a kick-off party with some basic square dance instruction, dancing and sloppy joes, salad, desserts and refreshments from 6:30-9 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.

    Grand opening

    The Los Alamos Democratic Party Headquarters grand opening is slated for noon-4 p.m. Monday at 140 Central Park Square.

  • Next Big Idea Fest showcases innovative car

    A group of 13 Proctor and Gamble engineers who call themselves Team Cheaparral are bringing their Cheaparral 2J-2 Corvette to the Next Big Idea Festival, which takes place in Los Alamos Sept. 15.

    Along with the Corvette, known as the “sucker Vette,” Team Cheaparral wants to bring young people up to speed on why the fields of technology, science and engineering are “cool.”

    “Team Cheaparral exemplifies what we at the Next Big Idea Festival hopes to teach our young people — that by challenging yourself using the math and science skills you learn at school mixed with innovative ideas and resourcefulness, we can open the doors to amazing possibilities,” said Suzette Fox, Los Alamos MainStreet Manager and coordinator of the Next Big Idea Festival.

    Assembly of the Corvette began in 2007, when Team Cheaparral used their science, math and technology skills — typically used to design and build machines that make P&G products (diapers, toothpaste, coffee and razors, to name a few) — to transform a wrecked 1986 Chevy Corvette into an award winning race car for a cost of $2,007.

  • Code Talkers altered course of WWII

    The code developed and used by the Navajo Code Talkers has been called the most ingenious and successful code in military history.

    The code was instrumental in the success of every major engagement of the Pacific, saved countless lives and played a pivotal role in hastening the end of World War II in the Pacific theater.

    Yet it was 1968 before the military declassified the work of the Navajo Code Talkers and longer still before they received the honor they deserved.

    In 1992, the Pentagon officially honored the Code Talkers’ contributions and in 2001 — nearly 60 years after the legendary code was created — the few Code Talkers still living were awarded Congressional Medals of Honor: gold for those who created the code and silver for the others. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., was instrumental in getting that bill passed. “With the Navajo language they defeated the enemy” is written in Navajo on the back of the medals.

    Most people have now heard of the Code Talkers, but few are aware of the nature of their contributions.

    The practice actually began during World War I. Cherokee, Cheyenne, Choctaw, Comanche, Osage, Yankton and Sioux were part of telephone squads sending coded messages in their native languages during military actions.

  • Navajo Code Talker recalls WWII

    Navajo Code Talker Jack Jones introduces himself by describing his disabilities. A bomb explosion during World War II injured his left eye, took away his sense of smell and damaged his hearing. Jones apologizes in advance for his hearing difficulties.

    But the 93-year-old Jones needs little prompting to talk about his war experiences. He was 19-years-old when he left his home in Montezuma Creek, Utah to join the Marines and was assigned to serve with the Navajo Code Talkers.

    Jones and his unit practiced the 600-plus-word code developed by the “first 29” until they could use it flawlessly. “We didn’t have any name for military weapons,” Jones said. “So names were given, such as a bomb, we called a chicken egg and a grenade we called a potato.”

    Before his journey across the Pacific began, Jones took to heart the advice of his Navajo elders.  

    “They said, you’re going to war. You have to come back in good health and good mind, wherever you go,” Jones said. “I said to myself, I’m going to a foreign country and I have to come back. So I jerked my hair like that and said, I’m going to come back to this country, right here. I was standing on the coast of San Diego.”

  • Visiting Nurses Service celebrates hospice milestone

    There are no definite plans yet, but if the successful reception the Los Alamos Visiting Nurses Service held at the Scout Lodge on Canyon Road was any indication, Los Alamos could soon be home to the first hospice in Northern New Mexico.

    “The closest inpatient unit is in Albuquerque, so this would be the first one in Northern New Mexico,” LAVNS Executive Director Sarah Rochester said.

    According to Rochester, it’s an idea whose time has come.

    “The Visiting Nurse Service has been doing hospice care in the home for 15 years and we have become increasingly aware that we do not have a place for people to go at the end of life that is covered by Medicare regulations, and that is reimbursable,” she said.

    Rochester also added that hospice’ Medicare partnership may also help fund some of the costs for respite care for the family as well as inpatient care.

    Though final plans have yet to be approved by the LAVNS’ Board of Directors, Rochester said securing a piece of property ideal for a hospice for the site was a big step toward accomplishing their goal.

  • School adapts to test mandate

    It’s called the “high school competency exam,” and if you’re a parent with a child in the Los Alamos Public School System, you probably already know that.

    What you may not know is, thanks to a recent change in state requirements students in their junior year of high school are now required to pass the test in order to graduate from high school. In other words, students in the graduating class of 2013 will be the first class that will have to pass the exam in order to graduate.

    “It used to be that if you had all your credits, you’d be able to graduate,” said Assistant Superintendent Paula Dean. “Now you have to show on this test you are proficient in these subjects.”

    The exam tests kids on how well they know science, math and reading. However, only math and reading count toward graduation scores. Students need at least a combined score of 2272.5 in these subjects to pass.

    So how did those kids do when they took the test last year?

    According to the stats, 28 students out of the class of ’13 failed to meet the requirements. That’s about 10 percent of the class of 268 students.

  • ´Toppers bounce back vs. Scorps

    The last time the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team went on to win the Louie Cernicek Invitational, it would go on to win the state championship.

    In 2012, the Hilltoppers are hoping this weekend’s tournament is a harbinger of things to come.

    Los Alamos picked up two impressive victories in the opening rounds of the tournament, but had to slug it out against the defending Class 4A champion Farmington Scorpions.

    After 78 minutes of scoreless ball and both teams struggling to produce any offense, Farmington’s Jeremy Klepac, quite possibly the most dangerous player in 4A, outhustled the Hilltopper defense to a long boot ball. Klepac emerged with the ball from a converging triangle of Los Alamos defenders to clang a shot off the crossbar and in.

    But the drama wasn’t over, not by a long shot.

    Deep in extra time, Cooper Christensen was fouled just outside of the Farmington penalty box. Midfielder Rohun Iyer was locked on to fullback Ben Stewart as he set up a flip-over kick that went right to Stewart’s head and into the goal.

    Stewart, who was named the Defensive Player of the Tournament, said he felt responsible for Klepac’s late goal and new it was up to him to make something happen.

  • Dunn done good in the Senate

    SANTA FE — State Sen. Aubrey Dunn was a master tactician and understood state finances perhaps better than anyone else ever has. He died last week at 84.
    Dunn was business manager and part owner of the Alamogordo Daily News. He also had an apple orchard at High Rolls. At the Legislature he preferred to call himself an apple farmer likely because that was safer than saying he was in the newspaper business.
    Aubrey was a Democrat but if he were in the Legislature today, he’d probably be a Republican. It was shortly after his 1980 resignation from the Legislature that Democrats in the Southeastern part of the state started changing their registration to Republican or getting beaten by Republicans.
    Dunn was conservative. He thought like a business manager — or an apple grower.
    During the period he reigned as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Democrats held a good 30 out of the 42 seats in the Senate.
    In the House, Republicans and conservative Democrats had formed a conservative coalition to take control. In the Senate that wasn’t necessary since most Democrats already were conservative and Dunn was in control of the money.

  • Would you post your salary on Facebook?

    If I were a New Mexico state employee, crunched somewhere in the middle of the hierarchy (which I used to be), and I learned that my colleagues’ salaries were posted online, I would be tempted to take a peek.
    I might scan for anyone whose salary was higher than mine but who, in my opinion, didn’t deserve it. If I found any, I might become just a bit resentful.
    Would my work suffer? A little, possibly. Would I use this information to justify small acts of defiance, like sneaking a novel into the restroom now and then? Maybe.
    Would I be distressed that my own salary had been put on public display? Absolutely. Wouldn’t you?
    New Mexico state employees’ salaries were posted online, with names, on the state’s “Sunshine Portal,” until the names were removed following a court order, prompted by a lawsuit filed by the employee union AFSCME.
    The court order, it is important to note, referred specifically to the Sunshine Portal. The database was left in place, with names deleted for classified employees.
    I breathed a sigh of relief. I was concerned not only about employee morale and potential internal dissension, but about the kind of mischief that could be done to all those employees by nefarious use of the data — cheesy targeted marketing programs or worse.